This is my fourth year at QMUL. Previous to coming here, I taught at UCL for six years, where I completed my doctorate, which contributed to the Leverhulme-funded ‘Bloomsbury Project’. My doctoral work explored the role of fiction in the social production of that particular metropolitan locality between the 1820s and early twentieth century. Before this, I was an undergraduate and Master’s student at Magdalen College, Oxford. My research attends to both ends of the long nineteenth century and largely addresses the politics of the cultural representation of urban and coastal space. I currently live in Vauxhall, but I was born in Plymouth and lived in Cornwall for my first two decades.
I am the co-convenor, with Dr Vicky Mills (Birkbeck) of the London Nineteenth-Century Seminar at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House.
I have taught on:
- ESH123: Narrative
- ESH279: Victorian Fictions
- ESH300: Thomas Hardy and the Victorian Modern
- ESH6034: Cultures of Inequality: Narrating Class 1815-1914
- ESH6054: Victorian Texts/Early Film
I have taught on:
- ESH7024: Victorian Voices
- London; especially Bloomsbury
- Seaside resorts; especially Margate
- Railings: culture, history, politics
- Theories of space, spatial practice and spatial representation
- The Victorian novel, including Dickens, Collins, Trollope, Braddon, Hardy
- Early twentieth-century fiction, including Chesterton, Nesbit, Woolf
Recent and On-Going Research:
My thesis addressed the role of fiction in the production of Bloomsbury, showing how the locality became culturally recoded over the course of the nineteenth century, being transformed from a place of socio-economic marginality to an autonomous centre of intellectual endeavour, through the interested mediation of literary writing. This local history of the novel stretches from the 'Silver-Forks', through Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, Braddon, Morris, and a number of ‘New Women’, to Woolf, who moved in 1904 into what was already a very culturally mediated part of town. This work is due to be published as a monograph next year.
Building from this account of a particular place within the city, I am currently scoping a larger future project upon cultures of rent in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Related current research interests of mine include the contestations that have arisen around London's railings and about the democratization of leisure in Margate between the 1820s and the 1920s.
- Nineteenth-Century Fiction and the Production of Bloomsbury: Novel Grounds (Palgrave, forthcoming 2018).
- Bloomsbury: Beyond the Establishment (British Library, 2017).
- Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century, co-edited with Matthew Kerr (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2018).
- G. K. Chesterton, London and Modernity, co-edited with Matthew Beaumont (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).
Essays and Articles
- ‘Fair Exchange?: Between the Afterlives of Holmes and Raffles’, in Critical Quarterly (forthcoming).
- ‘Dickens and Music’, in Dickens and the Arts ed. Juliet John and Claire Wood (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming).
- ‘human language can make a shift’: Late-Victorian Tentacular Cities and the Genealogy of ‘Sprawl’’, in Victorian Sustainability in Literature and Culture ed. Wendy Parkins (Routledge, forthcoming).
- ‘Double Standards: Reading the Revolutionary Doppelgänger in The Prophet’s Mantle’, in Victorian Fiction beyond the Canon ed. Daragh Dowes and Trish Ferguson (Palgrave, 2016) 181-200.
- ‘Thackeray and Silver-Fork Bloomsbury: Vanity Fair as Local Historical Novel’, in Thackeray in Time: History, Memory and Modernity ed. Richard Salmon and Alice Crossley (Routledge, 2016) 101-120.
- ‘Multiple Occupancy: Residency and Retrospection in Trollope’s Orley Farm and An Autobiography’, in Life Writing and Space, ed. Eveline Killian and Hope Wolf (Ashgate, 2016) 25-40.
- ‘George Crabbe’ (Long entry – 5000 words), in The Wiley Encyclopaedia of British Literature, 1660-1789, ed. Jack Lynch and Gary Day (Wiley/Blackwell, 2015).
- ‘Chemistry versus Biology: Dickens, Malthus, and the Familiarised Doppelgänger’, in Victorian Review 39.2 (2013 ), 97-114.
- ‘‘Fences...form’d of Wreck’: George Crabbe’s The Borough and the Resources of the Poor’, in Romanticism 20.2 (2014), 140-150.
- ‘Chesterton and the Romance of Burglary’, in G. K. Chesterton, London and Modernity (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), 135-156.
- ‘Bulwer-Lytton, Braddon, and the Bachelorization of Legal Bloomsbury’, in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 8.2 (Summer 2012) online.
- ‘Utopian Bloomsbury: the Grounds for Social Dreaming in William Morris’s News from Nowhere’, in Utopian Spaces of Modernism: British Literature and Culture 1885-1945, ed. Rosalyn Gregory and Benjamin Kohlmann (Palgrave, 2012), 87-104.
- ‘Building Plots: Metropolitan Fiction, 1848-1897, and the Conception of Urban Sprawl’, in Literatur in Wissenschaft und Untericht, ed. Ulrich Kinzeil (Winter 2011), 127-141.
My reviews and other shorter pieces have appeared in Times Literary Supplement, Urban Pamphleteer, Literary London Journal, Review 31, The Junket etc.
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in the politics of space in nineteenth-century literature and culture.
Recent/forthcoming talks to the general public include:
- ‘Bloomsbury and the Grounds for Philanthropy’, 25th November 2017, as part of Being Human festival 2017.
- ‘Bloomsbury: Beyond the Establishment’, 19th October 2017, and ‘Railing Bloomsbury: Walking Tour’, 21st October 2017, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival 2017.
- ‘The Poetics of Sculpture’, for Rodin and Dance: the Essence of Sculpture exhibition, Courtauld Gallery, 20th November 2016.
- 'Bright Club', 22nd October and 'Writing Bloomsbury in the Nineteenth Century: Walking Tour', 23rd October 2016 as part of Bloomsbury Festival 2016.
- ‘Writing Cornwall: from Hardy to W. S. Graham’, for Late Showings of Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings, Courtauld Gallery, 26th November 2015 and 14th January 2016.
- ‘The Victorian Thames’, for Inside Out Festival, Somerset House, 22nd October 2015.
- ‘Against Railings’, for New London Architecture lunch time soap box session, Never Mind the Bollards, 18th June 2015.
- ‘The Victorian Opioid Imagination’, for Bright Club at Kew Gardens, 21st September 201